Why Makeb is Swiftly Becoming my Favourite Planet

SWTOR Makeb (Rise of the Hutt Cartel): Why it's becoming my favourite planetThis post may be going against the grain but I’m discovering that Makeb the single-planet expansion of Rise of the Hutt Cartel is very quickly becoming my favourite planet. Released some time ago (and still charged to non-subscribers), Makeb provides hours of gaming – if you enable ‘Show Exploration Missions’ anyway. I’m going to explain my reasons why, even with Knights of the Fallen Empire and continuous story.

Makeb is Simply Beautiful

Makeb has to be hands-down one of the most beautifully designed planet in the game. As I’m not the city-type I prefer open spaces any way. So I am still amazed by the detail of Zakuul in Fallen Empire but I’ll always prefer sunny countryside. Makeb is detailed, warm, rugged and full of beautiful scenery (some plant species are unique to Makeb, as far as I can tell) and plenty of wildlife.

Two Distinct Storylines

Although the base story is the same, Republic and Imperial stories are unique. The main gist of Rise of the Hutt Cartel is that the Hutts have siezed Makeb to drain it of its resource – Isotope-5, a potent compound which can provide an almost infinite energy source (for power, or fuelling starships for instance). They extract this by deep core mining but mining it causes instability in the core, which if continued can destroy the planet.

On the Republic side, you’re up against Toborro the Hutt. Makeb was a neutral world (not affiliates with Republic or Empire) but they lack the firepower to fight back. The Hutts bought out the local police force – the Interstellar Regulators so there’s no opposition. And Makeb’s atmosphere means large-scale troop deployments are impossible. Your job on the Republic side is to try to win over the government to join the Republic. And to try to save the planet and/or its people.

On the Imperial Side, you take the role of a stealthy infiltrator (suits Agents really well). You have been tasked by Darth Marr to take the Isotope-5 (which Imperials know about straight away, the Republic Side has to discover this through the story). The Empire feels like it’s losing the war and the Emperor is silent. Darth Marr seeks to take Isotope-5 for himself to create a stronger military and start to force a new Empire. Your main adversary is The Archon, a Hutt accustomed to killing all who oppose him – and who has his own Isotope-5 Droid which he ‘pilots’.

Both stories take time to unfold, which makes it enjoyable.

Slow Levelling

Another reason I like Rise of the Hutt Cartel is that you level at a slow rate, even though Level Sync is in play. Power levelling can be quite intense (which doesn’t help my pain levels). Depending on your level, I think you gain 2-4 levels across the whole planet. Levelling isn’t the aim on Makeb, enjoying the story (and in my case, the scenery) is the primary focus. And I like that.

Bite-sized Missions

Since Knights of the Fallen Empire, chapters work a bit like Flash Points – a 1-2hour mission that you realistically can’t break. There are exceptions, so some of the Zakuul missions and ones on board the Gravestone, but most the time they follow the Flash Point model. Makeb on the other hand is open-world and functions more like a Class-Story planet. Missions are smaller or shorter, so you can easily stop for a break, for food, or to take medication (in my case at least). That helps me to relax more when playing it.

Up to I think L60 you also get 12 Common Data Crystals for the core story missions. This can help save for Purple 208 Gear or Companion Gifts. There are also two speeders you can purchase on Makeb for 200 Common Data Crystals, just as a heads-up.

Reputation Rewards and Titles are Available

Since KotFE, BioWare seem to have abandoned the idea of gaining reputation and titles (apart from the ‘Alliance Commander’ title for achieving rank 10 Influence with all Alliance Specialists). Makeb has reputation and titles available. In the orbiting space station there’s a Reputation Vendor selling unique Makeb-themed Stronghold decorations as well. That makes it something to aim for. Gaining Reputation on Makeb is a long process, though, unless you can group up for the Heroic Missions.

Plenty of Harvesting Nodes

I usually end up ‘ahead of the curve’ on crafting. An intentional decision on my part to help with earning credits mostly. But Makeb is full of harvesting nodes for all crafting specialisations. You can fill your Legacy Storage or sell the materials on GTN. Although Makeb pays relatively well for completing missions, a bonus from crafting always helps!
A Wave from Makeb

Companion Influence Increases

Unlike Forged Alliances and Shadow of Revan, Makeb does offer influence gains for companions during conversations. After Ilum and Makeb you don’t gain influence for most of your ‘core’ companions even into KotFE. So if you want to get your companions to influence level 10 as one of your Things to do before starting KotFE, without buying gifts, then take various companions along.

There are also a ton of NPCs to kill, so if you need any of the ‘defeat X enemies’ achievements, Makeb is perfect for that.

TL;DR I now always play Makeb!

Playing the Rise of the Hutt Cartel is now a part of my normal character progression. It delays how quickly I have to start Fallen Empire, keeps my gaming varied. I hear people complain about Makeb, usually because it’s “so long” to get through it. But that’s part of the attraction for me. A good story, slow progress and beautiful scenery. For me, that’s a win!

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10 thoughts on “Why Makeb is Swiftly Becoming my Favourite Planet

  1. My own attitude towards Makeb has definitely softened. I didn’t enjoy replaying it very much when it first came out because it was initially sold to us as “chapter four of our class story” when in fact it was no such thing, and its beauty was marred by an extremely high mob density and grindy quests, with every bonus mission requiring 50-odd mob kills or so. The latter has long since been smoothed out though, and since we now seem to be limited to a single story for all classes, I find myself looking back at Makeb’s two distinctly different story arcs for the two factions with fondness. It’s funny how times change.

    1. Definitely. I used to think it was too long. And the Isotope-5 Droid mid-way through Imperial version really narked me. But I’m more prepared for that now. And repeating Makeb over is much less “samey” than redoing all the KotFE chapters over-and-over which are 99% the same for all characters. Just my 2 cents.

  2. The Imperial story is such a kick in the teeth, I barely made it through the Republic version afterwards. And haven’t been back. I guess it might be different knowing how it comes out… on a character who cares about the Empire and not people. Maybe. Or on a Republic character now that more time has passed, since I don’t even remember that side of it.

    It is a very beautiful planet. Or was.

      1. Oh, the story is well done, it’s just a pretty thorough tragedy.

        Yes, the Empire gets its Isotope, but at an incredibly steep cost. Makeb may not be destroyed, but it’s implied to be fairly damaged and basically unlivable – if you were trying to help the people of Makeb as well, that’s hardly a success. They’re still out a home. (And…I don’t think you know that the Republic saved a bunch of people. Or do you? I don’t remember.) And most of the people you’ve been working with are killed, some horribly. (Like the poor woman who dies after being tortured by the Hutt.)

        I’m sure it seems different going through it Dark Side, or even on a character who cared mainly about the Isotope and what it could do for the Empire. I played through it on a hard Light Side character. Getting the Isotope in the end felt like such a hollow victory. Especially after the main game, where you generally can save people if you try. Not on Makeb.

        Okay, yes, there are some people you can directly spare – who we can hope actually survive everything. And you can save Cytharat. But overall, it felt like Bioware was pulling a “reality ensues” on Light Side Imperial players.

        And that final fight Empire side seems far more fitting to a Flashpoint boss than to the main story. I’m sure it’s possible to solo (by someone else, or on a class other than the one I was playing), but it doesn’t even seem like a fight that’s designed to be soloed. It makes the Isotope-5 droid that everyone complains about look like child’s play. Or at least it did to me.

        1. Heya,

          I love your points! And yes on the Republic side you do save a lot of folk using the Hutt’s ‘Ark’ Transporter. So you do know about that.

          On the Imp side, yes you can Solo the boss but it is a tactical boss as it has, from memory, repair droids you need to destroy before continuing to hammer the Archon. The boss on the Republic side the trick is to get behind it – your companion can take the heat from the front but it’s a one-shot kill if you’re in the way!

          1. Oh, I know you know Republic side that people are saved, what I don’t remember is if you hear about that on the Empire side playthrough. Or if you’re left thinking that basically everybody dies.

            Yeah, I figured out the “dance” for the Imp side boss, but when most of your damage dealing requires you to be stationary… Plinking away at everything with one or two shots wasn’t ever going to win the fight. On a class with different AOEs and more instant abilities (or even ones that don’t do all their damage at the end), I imagine it would be much easier. With the thingies behind the boss that you have to deactivate, the swarms of repair droids, the insta-kill beam, and all, it just felt way, way over the top for something that wasn’t a (group) flashpoint fight. And far harder than the Isotope droid that people do complain about.

            (Then again, there have been some changes to the class since I did the fight. And changes to Makeb. It may not be as hair-tearingly awful now.)

            I don’t even remember the Republic boss. Or much of anything from my Republic playthrough. Maybe it’s just that un-memorable, or maybe I was still reeling from my Empire side playthrough.

          2. The Imperial storyline is much better – playing a stealthy infiltrator is a really good approach (even as a non-Agent). What class did you play the Imperial side through on? It worked okay for Sniper but that has one-shots and AOE which helps.

            The end boss isn’t too bad now, so I don’t know if they changed the spec? Never been insta-killed by the Archon, but it may have helped that I had my companion in Tank stance so I didn’t attract all the aggro. Heroic Moment abilities help a lot too.

  3. :/ I liked Ogoruub and the story. But there were 2 things I hated: falling off things (no shortcuts allowed) and the bugged heroic. Or maybe it was that it was falsely advertised as a 2+ and it needed 4. 4 vents. 1 player w/ an unhelping companion. Die and get sent out and have to start ALL OVER. Rinse. Repeat. again and again. Haven’t won it once.
    I have gone through 3 characters there and STILL not one has beaten that blasted heroic!

    1. Falling off is fairly standard. I’ve done the same on Hoth and Voss (Nightmare Lands) – and in a [Solo] Star Fortress! One Heroic is incorrectly labelled [Heroic 2] (if you’re talking about the gas trap Heroic). They should have reduced the traps to 2, or retained it as a H4. I’ve never done that Heroic since I tried to Solo it!

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